cover image Little Jewel Box

Little Jewel Box

Marianna Mayer. Dial Books, $10.89 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0149-6

It's always a treat to see Tomes's rich, earth-toned paintings. Dramatic landscapes, luxurious shades of brown and uniquely styled people, a trademark of this gifted artist, are here in abundance as well. The story's heroine, Isabel, is a feisty young woman who wants to live the adventures she's read about in books. Reluctantly her parents send her off into the world, each bestowing a gift. Her mother, intending to bake a good-luck cake, jumbles recipes and gives Isabel a bad-luck cake instead. Her father gives Isabel a magic box, to be opened only if the owner is threatened by death. Isabel, using her wits, the jewel box and the help of some friendly animals, manages to fulfill her adventurous desires and ends up with a prince and a castle too. Despite the fact that the three little men in the jewel box are too annoyed and too complaining, Mayer's telling of this original fairy tale is smooth-flowing and pleasant. (48)